airbags, Recalls, Uncategorized

NHTSA Issues Consumer Safety Advisory

NHTSA recall

Ford and Mazda announced they are expanding their ‘do not drive warning’ to include additional MY 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks with defective Takata air bags based on new testing, according to a NHTSA notice released today.

These vehicles have defective Takata air bags that are an immediate risk to safety. Affected owners are urged not to drive these vehicles and to contact Ford and Mazda immediately to schedule a free repair. Ford and Mazda have replacement air bags available now and will tow vehicles to a local dealership for repair, and provide loaner vehicles – all free of charge.

NHTSA is calling on the media, safety advocates and the public to help spread this urgent safety message to ensure it reaches owners. NHTSA will continue to ensure all consumers are kept informed of current and future recalls.

To stay informed and safe, NHTSA urges all drivers to take the following five actions.

  1. Visit NHTSA.gov to find out if your car or truck is under recall. Search using your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Your search result will tell you if your car or truck is included in this or any other safety recall at this time. Vehicles scheduled for future recalls will not show up in this search, so it is important that you check regularly, at least twice per year.
  2. If your vehicle does have a recall, call your local dealer to schedule the free repair. Just remember that in the Takata air bag recalls, there are priority groups; parts are only available for certain vehicles starting at certain dates.
  3. Sign up at NHTSA.gov/Alerts to be notified by e-mail if your vehicle is affected by a future recall.
  4. Get answers to frequently asked questions at nhtsa.gov/takata.
  5. Help spread the word: share NHTSA’s consumer fact sheet and video with friends and family.

Stay connected with NHTSA: Search for open recalls with NHTSA.gov/Recalls| Download the Safercar Mobile App for Apple or Android devices | Receive recall alerts by e-mail | Visit us on Facebook.com/NHTSA| Follow on Twitter.com/NHTSA.gov | Watch 5-Star Safety Ratings crash tests onYouTube.com/USDOTNHTSA.

Florida Highway Patrol, Hit and Run, Uncategorized

FHP promotes Hit-and-Run Awareness

Stay_at_Scene

From year to year, Florida has seen the amount of hit and run crashes remain steady, with nearly 25 percent of all crashes involving a hit and run. Although the majority of hit and run crashes only result in property damage, hit and run crashes can be deadly. The Stay at the Scene campaign aims to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida by educating drivers on their responsibilities if involved in a crash and the serious consequences they face if they choose not to Stay at the Scene.

The penalties for hit and run drivers changed on July 1, 2014 when the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act (section 316.027, Florida Statutes) was signed into Florida law. The statute is named after Aaron Cohen, a 31-year-old avid cyclist and father of two that was fatally struck by an alcohol impaired driver that fled the crash scene in February 2012 in central Florida. The hit and run driver was sentenced to two years in prison, a lesser sentence than what the motorist would have served had he been sentenced on a DUI manslaughter charge. The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act imposes a mandatory minimum of 4 years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a fatality.

HIT AND RUN PENALTIES

For more information, see Florida Statutes 316.061316.027.
Leaving the scene of the crash with:
PROPERTY DAMAGE Second Degree Misdemeanor
Up to 60 days in prison and $500 fine
INJURIES Second or third degree felony
Revoked license for at least 3 years
Up to five years in prison and $5,000 fine
FATALITIES First degree felony
Revoked license for at least three years
Mandatory minimum of 4 years in prison, up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

If you are involved in a crash, stay at the scene and call for help. It’s not just the law – you could save a life.

If you have information on a hit and run crash vehicle and/or driver, you can report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers.

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This article is a reprint of information provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol in recognition of  Hit and Run Awareness Month.   In partnership with the Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, the initiative seeks to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida and encourage individuals to anonymously report information to solve hit and run investigations.

Child Neglect, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI

DUI lawyer arrested for DUI and child neglect

joshua-hauserman-DUI_lawyer_arrested
Joshua Hauserman, a DUI lawyer, was charged with DUI and child neglect. (Photo: Palm Beach County Sheriffs)

Joshua Todd Hill Hauserman, a lawyer from West Palm Beach, was suspended for 30 days placed on two years’ probation for failing to complete treatment for alcohol problems. Hauserman, managing partner of the Hauserman Law Group, admitted to violating the terms of the Florida Lawyers Assistance by testing positive for alcohol on five different occasions and failing to timely remit his monthly monitoring fee.

Hauserman pleaded guilty in 2014 to driving under the influence and his driver’s license was suspended for five years. At the time of his current arrest, he was driving on a suspended license with a 3-year-old child and had two flat tires. This was his second DUI,

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Details for this article taken from the Sun Sentinel

car crashes, Collisions, Rubbernecking, Tailgating

Rubbernecking can contribute to the traffic jams around a crash site

3_car_crash

“Curiosity killed the cat” might be a warning to the rubberneckers who cause traffic jams when there is a vehicle crash in their path.  Even drivers on either side of the road where a collision takes place can cause a slowdown of traffic and unnecessary frustrations for others on the road.  Slowing down just to get a close look at what has happened, who got hurt or who is on the scene of the collision can make the situation worse for those who are involved in the crash and those who are trying to help them.

Remember the MOVE OVER law, in effect in all 50 states and the District of Columbia: moveover_imagereduce your speed when you hear sirens or see flashing lights of emergency vehicles, and change lanes when passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road to create space for them to do their job.  Slowing down too much can make things worse;  a disruption in the flow of moving traffic can cause a chain reaction – as one driver brakes slightly, and the drivers behind them brake slightly to avoid hitting them. This braking will eventually magnify until it creates a traffic jam.

Avoid tailgating, and help keep the flow of traffic moving by maintaining proper distance – 3 seconds at highway speeds and 2 seconds at city speeds.  This tactic helps other drivers change lanes safely.  Stay focused on driving instead of giving in to the distractions of a collision, and be a contributor to keeping traffic moving instead of becoming an additional obstacle.

Crashes and Collisions, Drowsy Driving, fatalities, Fatigue, Uncategorized

Summer – Worst Season For Car Crashes

Summer has arrived – no snow, ice or other weather-related factors infamous for contributing to road hazards. Summer, however, is the worst time of the year for car crashes.  Summertime means vacation time, where more people are on the road. campingvan_vacationtimeWhether travelling across the country in a travelvan or camper, jumping in your car for a road trip, or just escaping for a staycation around town, people have places to go when the weather gets warm. According to the National Highway & Traffic Safety Administration,  there were 35,092 traffic fatalities in 2015, the latest year for which statistics are available for the entire year. Most (9,708) occurred during the third quarter, July through September, followed by fourth quarter fatalities (9,284) during October through December, second quarter fatalities (8,765) during April through June and first quarter fatalities (7,335) during January through March.

Perhaps more traffic fatalities happen during warm weather months because people tend to stay at home during the cold weather months – it’s not a pleasant ordeal to hit the road when it is freezing outside, not to mention the weather-related factors serving as road hazards. Plus, more people save their vacation time for summer, when the kids are out of school and the weather is great. What can you do to prepare for the warm weather road travel? First and foremost, plan
your trip. Driving for long stretches can cause fatigue and drowsy driving. Beware of the symptoms that should tell a driver to stop and rest.

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids.
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs.
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes.
  • Trouble keeping your head up.

Yawning while drivingAccording to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. However, many people cannot tell if or when they are about to fall asleep. Studies show that sleepiness can impair driving performance as much or more so than alcohol. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that one out of every six (16.5%) deadly traffic accidents, and one out of eight (12.5%) crashes requiring hospitalization of car drivers or passengers is due to drowsy driving. (AAA, 2010). One analysis estimated the cost of automobile accidents attributed to sleepiness to be between $29.2 to $37.9 billion.

Research has revealed a few indicators of drowsiness and drowsy driving. that include:

  • Frequent blinking, longer duration blinks and head nodding
  • Having trouble keeping one’s eyes open and focused
  • Memory lapses or daydreaming
  • Drifting from one’s driving lane or off the road

Currently, there is no definitive physiologic test or detection system for drowsiness equivalent to the breath analyzers used to detect drunk driving.

The National Sleep Foundation has published a White Paper on Drowsy Driving, containing more details about Drowsy Driving being a prevalent and serious public health issue that deserves more attention, education, and policy initiatives. Their aim is to avert drowsy driving crashes so a substantial amount of lives can be saved.

cannabis, Drug-Impaired Driving, Legislative Affairs, medical marijuana, Recreational marijuana

Nevada’s speedy route from cannabis legalization to sales

marijuana_piggybank_calculator
Recreational Marijuana Sales Begin July 1st – And An Ounce Won’t be Cheap!

July 1st is the target date for recreational marijuana to go on sale in Nevada, after votes approved a ballot measure in November to make it legal. This has been the fastest turnaround from the ballot box to retail sales of any of the states that have passed similar legislation. The Nevada Tax Commission approved emergency regulations with stricter labeling and packaging requirements aimed at protecting children by prohibiting edibles being modeled after any brand of product primarily marketed to children or bear likenesses of animals, fruits or cartoon characters. Great news for child advocates, but what about adults? Will there be any warnings about the effects cannabis products have on a driver or the consequences of driving impaired after smoking a joint or two? Driving stoned is still against the law – not even passengers can smoke or consume marijuana in a vehicle under Nevada law. A marijuana DUI could land you a fine of up to $1,000, a suspended license and even jail time.

Edibles like brownies and gummies tend to produce a longer and stronger high than smoked marijuana, and new packaging laws in Nevada will reflect that potency. Every edible will be required to have a label warning consumers that it could take up to two hours to feel the high.

The roll-out of marijuana sales will be greeted with a bumper – a crowded field of players jockeying for their piece of a very lucrative pie. First in line, the Nevada Department of Taxation, imposing a 10% percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana. In Clark County, about 32% percent of what consumers will pay will be taxes that include the 15% percent excise tax on cultivation, rolled into the retail price. Applications were accepted in May for businesses wanting to grow, produce and sell recreational marijuana for licenses that will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell cannabis products to adults 21 and older. Distribution licenses are available to liquor wholesalers, medical marijuana companies and operating medical marijuana distribution companies. It will cost businesses $5,000 to apply for a license, plus an additional fee if the company is awarded a license. Additional fees include:

  • $20,000 for retail stores
  • $30,000 for cultivation facilities
  • $10,000 for production facilities
  • $15,000 for testing labs
  • $15,000 for distributors

 

Then there is the cost of the product to the consumer. According to the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol,  when pot sales start on July 1st, the price of an ounce of smokable marijuana will be somewhere in the range of $350 to $450. One ounce of dried marijuana flower produces about 40 to 60 cigarettes.

Only currently licensed and operating medical marijuana establishments in good standing with the state were eligible to apply for retail, production, cultivation and testing licenses. Distribution licenses are available to liquor wholesalers, medical marijuana companies and operating medical marijuana distribution companies. After 18 months, distribution of the product could be open to other distributors.

Here are a few more things to know about launch of recreational marijuana sales in Nevada, courtesy of the Las Vegas Review Journal:

  • Dispensaries must be closed daily from 3 to 6 a.m.
  • Most cities in Nevada will begin sales July 1st. Henderson currently has imposed a 6-month moratorium on recreational marijuana licenses
  • The only difference between medical and recreational marijuana in Nevada will be the price at the sales counter.
  • Medical marijuana prices currently charged in Las Vegas for ⅛ ounce range from about $30 to $60. Several stores estimate recreational costs will be up to $80 for ⅛ ounce, and over $400 for an ounce of higher grade plant.
  • Both tourists and local residents can carry up to an ounce of marijuana and ⅛ ounce of concentrate – the same amount a person is legally able to buy beginning July 1st. However, smoking or consuming marijuana in public, on sidewalks or streets is not permitted, carrying a $600 fine. Marijuana use is banned on all gaming properties in the state. Tourists can’t smoke marijuana in hotel rooms or anywhere on resorts’ grounds.
  • The marijuana industry is entirely cash-based, and credit cards are not accepted.
  • Smoking marijuana will be allowed only in private residences.
  • Complaints about public consumption should be reported to 311 because it is considered a nonviolent crime. Officers will continue to give calls in which there is imminent danger a higher priority.
  • Stores can sell the inventory they have in-stock, but without a licensed distributor, no dispensary will be able to replenish its supply. Dispensary owners fear that they could run out of recreational products in weeks or even days since there is a distribution battle currently in play.

 

Bodily Injury, Car insurance, Crashes and Collisions, Head-on Collisions, Hit and Run, Lane Crossovers, Multi-Vehicle Crashes, Property Damage, Rear-End Crashes, Recalls, Road Hazards, Rollovers, Sideswipe Crashes, T-bone collisions, Tort, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists

Get the details of a car crash

2men_accident

Car crashes can be life changing, especially when you or your loved ones are the victims. Watch the various Victim Impact Panel stories on YouTube and you’ll hear the recurring theme – “it happened in a flash”, “we never saw it coming”, “we were driving one minute and the next minute we were hit”…..

Vehicle crashes are usually classified by attorneys as falling into distinct categories: Head-on Collisions, Hit-and-Run, Lane Crossover, Multi-Vehicle Crash, Rear-End Crashes, Rollovers,  Sideswipe or T-Bone Collisions, and Single-Vehicle Crashes. These are descriptive enough for an attorney to follow an established procedure for discovery. It’s a good idea to write down the basics –
          *  When – What was the date of your car accident?
          *  Where – Where did your accident occur?
          *  Who – Who were the other drivers involved?
Were you hurt in the collision? You are not alone. Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year with an additional 2.35 million injured or disabled. Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person. Regardless the details, car crashes inflict pain and suffering from injuries, in addition to causing frustration, stress and confusion. Are you properly insured? All states require that automobile liability insurance policies carry minimum coverage, with the average minimum being:
$15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident;
$30,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in any one accident;
$10,000 for damage or destruction of other’s property in any one crash.

But are these amounts really enough? Insurance is meant to protect a driver’s current and future assets. If the policy does not provide enough car insurance to cover damages caused by a driver to people or property, there could be legal action to sue for the additional costs. If you think about it, $15,000 for bodily injury may not even cover the cost of an ambulance, emergency room, pharmacy, etc. for a person injured in a traffic crash. If the injured person has medical expenses that exceed $15,000, as is usually the case, it is entirely possible for that individual to bring a lawsuit against you to recover the additional medical expenses not covered by your automobile insurance.

Additionally, most states do not mandate medical insurance for the driver be covered by car insurance. Therefore, if you are injured in a motor vehicle crash and you have inadequate or no private medical insurance, you will be held responsible for all costs of medical care provided to you. Check with your insurance agent to determine whether you should consider adding Medical Payments (Medpay) for treating injuries to you and your passengers without regard to fault. It also pays for treating injuries resulting from being struck as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle.

Knowing the extent of the injuries resulting from the crash will be helpful for the attorney guiding you through the claims process. Any medical documentation is good to have. Consider the aftermath of a car crash – piles of medical bills, missed work, the insurance paperwork – all very time-consuming and costly. Auto insurance in itself is quite complicated. All states regulate the insurance industry, and many offer policyholders coverage options, for example, choosing full tort or limited tort. What is the difference? Full Tort allows a person to sue for pain and suffering. With Limited Tort, an insured forfeits the right to compensation for pain and suffering. Typically, Limited Tort offers you a small discount on your monthly premium. But buyer beware – when you are injured in a car crash, saving a few dollars a month on car insurance doesn’t come near to being sufficiently compensated for the emotional and physical suffering of a crash, which can be life-changing and stay with you for a long time after the incident.

Don’t forget the police report. Most states require a police report for traffic collisions, especially those involving injury or death. These types of police reports are public records, so request a copy. Were there any witnesses? If so, try to collect their contact information. What about auto defects? Every year, vehicle safety features get more advanced in their design to prevent injuries. But these products often fail — consider the recent recall of 85 million Takata air bags. The problem was centered on aluminum nitrate, the chemical compound used to inflate air bags. When exposed to moisture, drastic temperature changes, or age, aluminum nitrate can break down and become unstable, leading air bags to explode, sending pieces of metal into cars, injuring their drivers and passengers. Those explosions led to significant injuries including bone fractures, lacerations, traumatic brain injuries and blindness. Vehicles made by 19 different automakers have been recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both in what NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.”

Other factors to consider when documenting a vehicle crash include road defects.  There are many road conditions that could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and crash, including objects on the road, ice/snow/black ice, confusing signs or lack thereof, potholes, steep shoulders (drop-offs), unsafe work zones, pooling water that can lead to hydroplaning, windy roads with no lines, and wheel ruts. Documenting these defects can be time-sensitive, as evidence might disappear with a change in the weather or repairs being completed.

Review Your Auto Insurance Coverageinsurancepolicy_edited-1

Buying a new policy? Updating an existing one? There are recommended minimum coverage for auto insurance that covers Tort (pain & suffering), Bodily Injury Liability, Property Damage Liability, Medical Expense Benefits, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UM/UIM), Roadside Assistance, Missed Work and Funeral Benefits. Having the proper insurance coverage might result in a slightly higher premium, but it will save you thousands when you need it most. Speak with your insurance agent about adjusting your deductibles if you are worried that your monthly premium will be too high.

Of particular importance is the UM/UIM coverage that applies to the driver, as well as family members living in the same household, in the event of a car crash. UM/UIM coverage will help pay for the costs related to accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers whether you are a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or the victim of a hit-and-run. According to a 2014 study by the Insurance Information Institute, 12.6% percent of American drivers had no insurance. The most recent data from the Insurance Research Council show higher estimates – a little over14% percent of the driving population is uninsured. Nationwide, there’s about a 1-in-8 chance a crash will involve an uninsured driver, with a 1 in 5 chance of finding an uninsured motorist on the road in six states. Recommended minimum coverage limits are $100,000 per person / $300,000 per occurrence. With these limits, UM/UIM can help pay for medical bills, pain and suffering and property damage.

Remember, you can change your car insurance policy at any time – just call your insurance agency or agent – before the unexpected happens.

Child Endangerment, Hot car deaths

Hot Car Alert – Greenhouse Effect Kills

Crying_kid_HOTCAR
Leaving a child or pet alone in a car is a health hazard that may result in death, even if parked in the shade of a tree

It is never a good idea to leave a vehicle unattended, and in some states it is actually against the law. In Florida, for example, “a parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for a child younger than 6 years of age may not leave the child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for a period in excess of 15 minutes, or for any period of time if the motor of the vehicle is running, the health of the child is in danger, or the child appears to be in distress.” Any person who violates these provisions commits a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by a fine not less than $50 and not more than $500.

What are the consequences when these behaviors result in death? On June 9th, two toddlers in Texas were intentionally left in a locked car for 15 hours while their mother and boyfriend partied with friends. Amanda Hawkins, the 19-year old mother, was charged with two counts of abandoning or endangering a child. Two weeks prior, two children in Ft. Worth died in a hot car incident after their mother reported them missing. The 2-yr old was found in a locked car holding the mother’s cell phone and car keys. Back in Florida, a 2-year old died in March of this year, after being locked in a car for five hours by his 21-year old half-sister while she went to work at a daycare center. No criminal charges were filed.

Illegal or not, you should NEVER, EVER leave a child alone in a car. It is a health hazard that may result in the death, even if parked in the shade of a tree. Don’t be fooled by the shade – the inside of a vehicle can increase precipitously even when not directly exposed to sunshine. A CNN video explanation of the greenhouse effect that takes place inside a parked car might be the awakening some parents need to understand the dangers rising temperatures pose on people and pets left in an unattended vehicle. Even a mild 70 degrees can turn into a scalding 90 degrees in a car with closed windows after just 10 minutes.

Vehicle_Temperatures_chartHow long does it take for the temperature to rise inside a car? This chart compares the temperature inside and outside a car, at 10 minutes and at 30 minutes lapse in time:

From 1998 to 2016, there were 700 U.S. heatstroke-related deaths of children left in cars. So far this year, KidsAndCars.org reports 11 hot car deaths. An examination of media reports shows the following circumstances:

  • 54% – child “forgotten” by caregiver
  • 28% – child playing in unattended vehicle
  • 17% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult
  • 1% – circumstances unknown

The inside of a vehicle heats up very quickly as a result of “The Greenhouse Effect”. Even with the windows partially rolled down, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 degrees in minutes, as cracking the windows does not help slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature. Much of the increase in temperature – 80% – happens during the first 10 minutes of stopping the car. An additional contributing factor focuses on the rate of overheating – a child’s body overheats 3‐5 times faster than an adult body, and children have died from heatstroke in cars in temperatures as low as 60 degrees.

Hot vehicles are the primary non-crash, vehicle-related killer of children under 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Children under the age of 1 are the most common victims, according to Kidsandcars.org. More than half of those who left children alone in vehicles did so unknowingly. Other reasons cited: the child got into the vehicle on his or her own (32 percent), child was knowingly left in vehicle (12 percent) and circumstance unknown (2 percent). The Department of Earth and Climate Science at San Francisco State University monitors hot-car deaths, citing many attributed to heatstroke as the cause of death – about 60 percent of non-crash-fatalities in children under 14. Researchers there found that since 1998, the annual average of juvenile deaths in cars has been 38. While the majority of heatstroke deaths in cars occur between June and August, deaths have been recorded for every month besides January over the past 16 years.

dont leave best friend

The same applies to pets –16 states have specific “hot car” laws with statutes that specifically prohibit leaving an animal in a confined vehicle. In many states, however, there are no hard-and-fast rules on the legality of leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle, although offenders can (and frequently do) face animal cruelty charges. In Las Vegas, the legal definition of “leaving a cat or dog unattended in an automobile” prohibits people from leaving a cat or dog alone in a “parked or standing motor vehicle during a period of extreme heat or cold or in any other manner that endangers the health or safety of the cat or dog.” Imagine the effect temperature rises demonstrated in the chart above has on an animal with fur and without water! Because leaving your pet alone in a car is a misdemeanor in Nevada, owners are looking at up to 6 months in jail, and/or up to $1,000 in fines. By committing this crime, you not only face fines and jail, but law enforcement can legally confiscate your pet, sell it or kill it by putting it down humanely.
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Resources
Fatal Distraction Pulitzer Prize winning article by Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post

How We Can Protect Children From Dying in Hot Cars Editorial

Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, DWAI, Repeat DUI offender

Drunk drivers reported driving impaired 80 times before their first arrest

According to Do Something, a global movement activating young people in every US area code and in 131 countries, on average, a drunk driver will drive 80 times under the influence before their first arrest. That equates to someone being killed in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes in America alone.  Earlier this month in Colorado, a man notorious for driving drunk was sentenced to 10 years in prison when convicted of his eighth DUI.

The Daily News reported that Albano Bustillos, 53, was arrested on his first drunk driving charge over 20 years ago and has been picked up eight times since then. “In his most recent arrest, Bustillos had a blood alcohol level of .227.

Albano_Bustillos
Albano Bustillos 8x DUI arrests, now serving 10 years in prison – Weld County Sheriffs photo

He was found sitting in his car with his head down,” said Weld County (Colorado) District Attorney Rourke. In Colorado, drivers with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .17 or higher, even if it is the driver’s first offense, will be labeled a PERSISTENT DRUNK DRIVER (PDD) and
sentenced as strictly as a repeat-DUI offender.

In Colorado, DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, affects the person to the slightest degree. A person DWAI is less able to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.  The Division of Motor Vehicles has the legal authority to suspend a driver’s license for DWAI regardless of any criminal charges a driver may face through the courts. These penalties, known as Administrative Penalties, can cause an automatic suspension of a driver’s license as well as fees and points, depending on the offense:

DWAI 1st Offense: 8 points toward license suspension; $200 to $500 fine; up to 180 days in jail; up to 48 hours community service.

DUI 1st Offense: Administrative license revocation for 9 months; $600 to $1,000 fine; up to 1 year in jail; up to 96 hours community service; alcohol education.

DUI/DWAI 1st offense under 21 years old: Drivers license suspended 3 months and 4 points added to driving record.

The penalties increase substantially for repeated offenses and, in some cases, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car. The only way to challenge Administrative penalties is to request an alcohol hearing.

Alcohol Hearings

Drivers have seven days after receiving a revocation/suspension notice to request a hearing. You must go in person to the DMV to put in a request. You will also be required to turn over your license if you did not do so at the time of the violation. You may also be eligible for a temporary driving permit while you wait for your hearing.

An Arrest

  • If you fail the roadside sobriety test, which could entail anything from standing on one leg while answering a barrage of questions to touching your nose and walking a straight line, you will be read your rights.
  • You will be handcuffed and taken to a city or county jail.
  • A tow truck will take your car and impound it.

Criminal Penalties

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s HEAT IS ON brochure states that 30,000
motorists are arrested for impaired driving in Colorado each year at a cost of $10,270  for a first-offense DWAI:  $10,000 including lawyer fees, rising insurance rates, fees to get a license back, probation supervision fees, all the way down to the brain injury surcharge and court costs. This figure is based on the minimum fine.

It is easy to see that drinking and driving is not worth any cost.

Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, Holiday Travel, Sobriety Check Points

A time to remember the fallen from DUIs and DUIDs.

graveyard

Today is Memorial Day, when we honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. The presidential proclamation for the commemoration emphasizes the meaning behind the holiday:

Memorial Day is our nation’s solemn reminder that freedom is never free. It is a moment of collective reflection on the noble sacrifices of those who gave the last measure of devotion in service of our ideals and in the defense of our nation. On this ceremonious day, we remember the fallen, we pray for a lasting peace among nations, and we honor these guardians of our inalienable rights.

Memorial Day is also a time to remember the fallen at the hands of drunk and drugged drivers – DUI/DWI/OWI and DUIDs. Car accidents kill more people than wars do, except for the Civil War where 620,000 soldiers lost their lives in battle. Every 53 minutes in America someone is killed in a drunk driving crash – that amounts to 28 people who die every day in motor vehicle crashes that involve a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol with annual costs of alcohol-related crashes totalling more than $44 billion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) give us more somber facts to contemplate as we celebrate the official kickoff of summer:

 

  • In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • Of the 1,070 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2014, 209 (19%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • Of the 209 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2014, over half (116) were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.
  • In 2014, over 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s one percent of the 121 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.
  • Drugs other than alcohol (legal and illegal) are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes.
  • Marijuana use is increasing and 13% of nighttime, weekend drivers have marijuana in their system.
  • Marijuana users were about 25% more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers with no evidence of marijuana use, however other factors – such as age and gender – may account for the increased crash risk among marijuana users.

Law enforcement around the country are targeting drunk and drugged drivers on this first holiday weekend of the summer driving season, and local police, sheriffs and highway patrol officers are on full alert. So if you celebrate Memorial Day by getting drunk or high, please don’t get behind the wheel. There are so many ways to get home safe – call a taxi, get a sober friend or family member to drive you home, schedule a ride-share service, or crash on the sofa.